I’ll start this post by telling you a little anecdote. This week at the school where I am doing my first practicum, the director had bought interactive white boards (IWB) for the classes and he would give them randomly because no one requested them. So he called a meeting after school. I heard my teacher wishing she wouldn’t be picked because she hates interactive boards. She would prefer to get a simple projector.
That just confirmed what I’ve read about IWB, teachers perceive them as a burden while schools are spending a lot of money on them. So they find themselves being force to integrate this tool in their teaching with no training provided. The case of my teacher is just one among so many others.
Fortunately, there are kind people who master the use of IWBs and create short videos as a Survival Guide! Here are the ones from Matt Granger and the Smart Board Revolution.
Because they want to please the director who bought these tools the first reaction of the teachers is to use the made-up activities which comes with the IWB software. According to the technology bloggers, there is so much more you can do ! And their ideas are very inspiring for my future teaching. Even if I don’t know yet at what level I want to teach, or even in which country, one thing I know is that I could make a good use of these boards! The IWB gives you access to internet, use it ! Internet signifies unlimited possibilities. You want to practice your students’ reading skills, make them annotate a recent article from an international news network. You can also present multi-level presentations with documents and videos using original presentation tools. It is not enough just to know how it works. Teachers need to be able to plan lessons using the IWB and as the third step, make those lessons interesting and engaging.
As Patty Grayson says, the interactive whiteboard is like a window to the world. Since it is equipped with a camera, it allows you to connect with anyone using Skype. You are free to do activities with other classrooms from anywhere which will bring new point of views to the project you are working on. You could also connect with the author of the book your students have to read, or the actor playing in their favorite TV shows. The possibilities are infinite, and foundations have been created to approach these people for educative purposes.
Another advantage of the IWB is that there is a lot of websites where you can download material from. You save a great amount of time that you would lose on creating your own. Suddenly, IWB won’t look that much like a burden. You can find these activities on blog like Teachers Love SMART Boards, Online White Board Tools and so on.
To end the discussion, lets just remember the main points. To use the IWB efficiently, teachers should receive a good training, they should keep in mind the goal they want to achieve using a smart board and BE CREATIVE!